I’m gender non-binary. I don’t use gendered pronouns. There is another student in one of my classes who always and purposely uses one when talking about me. He has no interest in hearing why this offends me nor in changing his behavior. What can I do?


A: This is a complicated situation. Though Penn State has a policy governing the use of a preferred name and gender identity in its information systems (AD84), there is not an explicit policy that addresses the issue you’re encountering. Certainly you can reach out to the faculty member or teaching assistant for your class to ask for their assistance in addressing this situation. If the behavior extends beyond the classroom or is severe and persistent enough, you can contact the Office of Student Conduct to determine if the student is violating the Code of Conduct.

Other Penn State resources that can provide assistance and support in this situation include the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity and the Gender Equity Center. If your efforts are unsuccessful, you could also consult the Office of Affirmative Action to determine whether the actions represent harassment.

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